Monday, 14 April 2008


Place de l'Horloge
Is he typical enough? I think he could feature in a tourist ad! The French word for waiter is garçon de café and in the old days you'd attract his attention by calling Garçon ! Litterally the word means boy and nowadays few people feel comfortable with calling so a grown-up man. The word is on the verge of extinction. I personnally prefer to attract the waiter's attention by saying S'il vous plait ! (please!). Anyway the weather was nice and sunny in Avignon last weekend, nice enough for patrons to enjoy eating and drinking outdoors, en terrasse as we say.

Est-il assez typique, mon garçon de café ? Je ne suis pas très à l'aise avec l'usage d'appeler 'garçon' un homme fait. Je préfère dire "s'il vous plait !" quand j'essaye d'attirer son attention, et je crois que je ne suis pas la seule. Je suis persuadée qu'un jour le politiquement correct prendra le pas sur la tradition et que ce nom disparaitra. En tout cas il a fait beau ce week-end à Avignon, et il y avait du monde en terrasse pour déjeuner ou prendre un verre.


Olivier said...

je serais comme toi, plus tôt "s'il vous plaît !". Je sais pas, s'il existe encore la célèbre course des garçons de café a Paris.
Tu as bien de la chance pour le temps, Dimanche sur Evry, pluie donc pas de terrace.

Josy said...

"Garçon" is still used to call the waiter? I was taught (many moons ago) that if we did that, the waiter might spit in our soup when we weren't looking. Maybe that's just for obvious tourists, though.

Anonymous said...

Ce garçon-là, dont j'ignore le nom, ça doit bien faire au moins trente cinq ans qu'il est serveur à Avignon ! Il a dû connaître tous les bars de la rue de la Ré à la place de l'Horloge !

Anonymous said...

Josy, in Australia I used to teach French to adults and I always advised them against the use of 'garçon' too, but the reality is that the word is still around, admittedly more in refering to the job than in adressing them in person.

M.Benaut said...

What a wonderful and bright town square, right in the centre of the old part of Avignon. I wonder if there are views down to the river? (Stupid, tourist question ! )

I would also shrink away from using this term of address; perhaps local people in his own age group still use this form ? But, coming from an Aussie, he would most probably spit in the soup ! - comme Josie a dit ci-dessus.

Anonymous said...

I think, you have there already a summer.
The photo shows so summer like feeling.
Have a nice week, Nathalie!

Anonymous said...

No river views from the Place de l'Horloge I'm afraid, m.benaut!
One great place to dine al fresco by the river is "Le Bercail" restaurant. It is located on the opposite river bank but you can get a free shuttle boat ride across, courtesy of the city council.

Thérèse said...

Pour typique c'est typique. Il n'y manque rien à cette photo sinon le bourdonnement et les odeurs si il y en avait... peut-être un petit bout de croissant? Nous avons eu les fraises hier, il ne faut pas trop demander.

Stefan Jansson said...

Very typical. Lets hope that the political correctness never makes it that far!
Garçon! I would like some coffee please!

M.Benaut said...

Thanks, Nathalie,

That suggestion has gone in the travel plans folder and I am most grateful.
I think that it will take a year to do half the things I would like to do and see in France.
If Bergson wants me to paint his house, it may take 2 years.
One really should house-swap with a French person, but for how many years?
Thanks too, for the useful fencing suggestions, here in Adelaide. I hope I have explained myself, and a little bit of down-under rationale, on Adelaide DP.

I hope you are enjoying the French sunshine. There seems to be more each day.

Anonymous said...

I agree, when in France I feel rude saying "Garçon!"

I'm going to email you another photo of a "typical" French waiter, at Les Deux Magots.

Tanya Breese said...

I'd love to be sitting there right now!
Here we use the term "ma'am" or "sir" when getting the waiters attention.

Jane Hards Photography said...

I have never been to Avignon, but your posts are whetting my apetite.Please and thank you,I agree, are always the preferable choice.

PeterParis said...

Je ne vois que des jus d'orange et des bières sur les tables! "Un Ricard, s'il vous plait!"

claude said...

Barman ! Hep M'sieur ! Tu as raison le s'il vous plait est plus classe. Il est un peu bedonnant ton "garçon de café " !

Ken said...

I would say he typifies the waiters I have seen in France( Paris specifically).
Nice photo of the cafe. It makes me want to come back.

Jilly said...

Lovely photo. I've never heard anyone use the word garcon in the 17 years I've lived in France. SVP seems the way to go. Interesting that it is still used.

Pat said...

Oui, je suis d'accord en ce qui concerne "garcon"---le terme pour moi est un peu pejoratif de nos jours. Et je suis d'accord avec Peter! Ou sont les pastis, les Ricard...? Peut-etre qu'il ne fait pas encore assez chaud? :<)

Anonymous said...

Glad to learn from your comments that the word garçon is already out. Olivier mentioned a famous 'course de garçons de café' (waiters race) in Paris. I googled 'course de garçon de cafés" and found that a surprising number of towns in France organise such races every year. The purpose of course is to walk as fast as you can across town without loosing the contents of your tray. It looks like fun to watch but I haven't found any info about the Paris race specifically. I need to narrow down my search words. Does anyone know anything about it?

Anonymous said...

This is a most interesting post.

That greeting wouldn't work here.

We use raise our hand as a signal and that seems to work.

Ming the Merciless said...

HA! My impression of a garçon is someone who is young, slim and totally gorgeous!

Maybe I've been watching too many French movies.

George Townboy said...

Awesome photo ... I like people photos!!

Anonymous said...

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